Encountering the unexpected, an occult operative and computer engineer at a secret surveillance organisation realise for the first time just how much they have in common.
Surveillance operative Pandora Blake might be a bit more prim and proper than the geeks she works with, but she enjoys her job at a secret British intelligence organisation which keeps a careful watch on goings on in other dimensions. Trained in ceremonial magic, she provides the occult expertise in her office partnership; network engineer Thomas Cameron handles the technical side of things. Their surveillance duty puts them alone in the office through many dark nights, but so far nothing's come up that they've not been able to handle.
Tentacles coming through the walls might not phase her, but a routine surveillance shift on the activity of a dangerous warlock results in a meeting of the professional and personal which Pandora never expected. She's never told anyone about her unsettling, and deeply private, spanking fantasies - and seeing them brought to life in her scrying mirror is just too much to cope with.
When her work partner realises that she's no longer watching the ritual, he's not pleased. Even a moment's inattention could be disastrous in this line of work. However, as the conversation progresses he realises that his repressed co-worker may have hidden depths.
Tom has depths of his own, and swiftly decides to take the risk of a practical experiment. As Pandora is swept along by his dominant manner, she is stunned to realise that others might share her fantasies - and that her beardy colleague may be more than a match for her. As she steps through the looking glass she discovers that the spanker of her dreams was right next to her, all this time.
Credit must go to Penny Docherty as the original writer of the "date before the palm" pun. Pandora's sorry for nicking it, but it fit the moment so well she couldn't resist.